"Mom, please leave me alone", shouted Ananya closing her bedroom door behind, leaving her mother worried as this has been a routine since few weeks. Ananya's parents tried a lot to speak with her but she never gave them a chance or explanation for her weird behavior.
"Shekar, I feel something is bothering Ananya. Do you think it would be better if we speak with her friends?", suggested Ananya's mother but was not appreciated by her father.
"Maybe she is too much stressed out with her academics. It is her final year and a crucial one too. Moreover, we need to give her some space Radhika. Don’t go behind her like a typical mother", said Ananya’s father Shekar. But still, Radhika was not convinced.
It is said right that a mother’s heart can sense her children well. Radhika very well remember her chirpy and cheeky daughter who used to speak for hours together making her listeners tired. Sometimes Radhika was forced to think that it was their mistake to send Ananya to the hostel when she was in her high school. Everything was normal in the initial few days, but later she used to call occasionally and that too for asking money. Then, Radhika convinced herself thinking that she was busy with her studies. After two years, she completed her exams and returned home and that is when the trouble began. She was totally changed, all the cheekiness turned into arrogance. Radhika then thought it to be just teenage anxiety and pushed away all her thoughts.
“As she didn’t score well in the exams, our questions made her more stubborn and she decided to stay in the hostel itself though she got enrolled in the college not so far from our house. We tried a lot to make her understand but, in the end, we had to give in to her as she was our only child and was most pampered by her father. In all three years, Ananya just came twice to our house and she never welcomed us to meet her at her college as well. We used to get many complaints regarding her attendance and she always had good excuses for us saying that she was doing an internship or going for an extra class and so on. Surprising us, a month before, she came back home and declared that she would go to her college from home and we agreed happily. Ananya started getting annoyed for little things and locked herself all the time in her room and I started getting worried about her health as she seldom spoke something with us or she seldom ate anything. I just hope she is not in some trouble”, thinking all this I just went upstairs and stood in front of her room and knocked waiting for the reply but there was no response, so I called out “Ananya”, but still there was no response. Pushing away all the negative thoughts, I turned the knob and went in to get the shock of my life and the only thing I could utter was “Ananya”. Immediately, taking her head into my lap, I tried waking her up by sprinkling some water but the empty bottle of sleeping pills on the floor had forced me to yell “Shekar” at the top of my voice with tears rolling down my eyes. Hearing my panic-stricken shout, Shekar came rushing upstairs and looking at us, he immediately called the ambulance. Everything happened so quickly and our Ananya was admitted to the hospital and we were waiting outside praying for our one and only daughter’s safety.
Shekar slowly whispered “Radhika, do you think in any way we have pressurized her to study or something that she had taken this step?”, asked Shekar and this is the first time Radhika was seeing him in this vulnerable state where his voice was shaking in the fear of losing his daughter.
“No, Shekar there is something bothering Ananya from so many days, I can feel that. It is better if we could get in touch with her friends”, said Radhika making up her mind that she would do anything to save her daughter from any trouble she is facing.
She immediately called Ananya’s friends and hearing the news they were there in the hospital within minutes. Radhika not wanting to scare them away asked holding back her composure “girls and boys, I know that you and Ananya are very good friends. I just want to know what is bothering my daughter that she couldn’t share with us and had to go to this extent. Please tell me what all you know, even the little things matter a lot”, hearing no reply from them she added “I don’t want to involve police into this, but I would be helpless if you would force me doing that because for me my daughter’s safety is the only thing that matters”.
“Aunty, we don’t know much as lately, Ananya has not shared anything with us. But what we have heard from different sources is something very hard for us to believe and that is”, a girl said hesitantly “that Ananya was involved in a murder”. This came out as a shock to both Shekar and Radhika and they didn’t know how to react. Part of their mind was assuring them that it can’t be true but Ananya’s behavior was telling another story. After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor came out to the expectant faces.
“You got her in at the right time. She is now out of danger. We will discharge her in a day”, said the doctor relieving the tension of Ananya’s parents.
“Thank you, doctor. Can we see her now?”, asked Radhika.
“Sure, by the way as your daughter attempted suicide, it is better if you get in touch with a counselor, there are high chances of her being in depression”, said doctor before attending his routine. Radhika and Shekar immediately rushed into the emergency ward to see their lovely daughter who is lying on the hospital bed like a lifeless body.
They both took either side of Ananya and Radhika was caressing her head with fresh tears forming in her eyes. Outside the ward, Ananya’s friends were making their way out of the hospital when one of them whispered to the girl who spoke with Ananya’s parents.
“Hey, why didn’t you blurt out the entire truth?”
“You know right that "Karma is a bitch", she deserves this suffering for what she did and she had to go threw the same mental torture that I had gone through when she killed Karthik, my beloved brother”.
All of them silently left from there while Ananya’s parents were just sitting on the couch beside her bed waiting for her to gain conscious. After a few hours, she woke up and she initially was confused about her surroundings but later she got all the flashes of what she was going through. Finding her parents who were asleep, she tried to take the knife from the side table but fortunately, it fell from her hand waking up her parents and looking at her, they immediately rushed towards her.
“Ananya, how are you feeling dear? Shall I call the doctor?”, asked Radhika being concerned.
“Who asked you to get me here? I don’t want to live anymore”, shouted Ananya moving from the bed to reach the knife. Both Shekar and Radhika tried harder to make Ananya understand but she being adamant was not listening to them, so Radhika pulled Ananya towards her and slapped hard making Ananya see the reality. Instantly, Ananya fell on her knees with tears and Radhika hugged her rubbing her back to console.
“Ananya dear, please share your problem with us. We are your well-wishers and would never judge you no matter what you have done or what happened to you”, said Radhika and hearing those soothing words from her mother, Ananya broke down.
“Mom, I never wanted to be like this. I always dreamt of being successful and making you proud until the devil Karthik entered my life five years back. I thought him to be a good friend and never realized how and when he got me addicted to the drugs. I started missing my classes and was intoxicated by them. I was begging for it and started lying to you about extra classes”, Ananya narrated everything with guilt and regret clearly visible in her eyes“But last year, as I woke up being half-conscious, one text gave me the shock of my life. Mom, it seems I have murdered Karthik when I was not in my senses and someone took those pictures and they started blackmailing me. And since then I am giving them money and also I tried a lot to give up on drugs but it is now out of my control and now I can't bear this torture nor could get away from it. Mom, Dad, please save me”, Ananya started crying requesting her parents to show her some way out of it.
Radhika and Shekar were finding it difficult to speak but then Radhika trying to take the situation into her hands, “Ananya, if you promise us that you would go to the rehabilitation center then we would help you out of this”, said Radhika and looking at her mother’s stern face, Ananya had no choice other than nodding in yes.
“So, now tell us what happened that day and did you have any reason to kill him?”, asked Shekar.
“No dad, I wouldn’t dare to go against him because he was my only source for getting...”, Ananya stopped abruptly as she couldn’t express her helplessness.
Radhika gestured Shekar to call the police and in an hour, they were there in the hospital room where Radhika had shown the pictures in Ananya’s cell phone and filed a complaint against the blackmailer. Ananya told them everything she could remember and as she agreed to give up on drugs, the police went back in search of the blackmailer.
Ananya joined the rehabilitation center and was showing good progress while the police caught the blackmailers and Ananya recognized them to be Karthik’s friend and they confessed that because of a rift between them, they accidentally killed Karthik and at that time as Ananya was with him, they framed her into it so that they could get away with the crime as well as earn some money.
Though Ananya was trying to become normal, her past kept haunting her in some or the other way, be it as a nightmare or in the form of people's taunts, she had to suffer both mentally and physically but the only good thing in her life was that she had the support from her parents.
Author’s note: Not everyone would be getting such support or not every doctor would come out with good news. It is our responsibility to stand by our loved ones and tell them that we are there for them no matter what. Every person makes mistakes, but life is above all that and suicide is never a solution. There are many people suffering from depression and teenagers are more vulnerable to drugs. So, my only request is despite them saying hundred times that they want to be alone, please don’t leave them alone. Ignore their shoutings, their requests or threats. Just remember one thing, punishing them is easier than losing them forever.